Saturday, October 10, 2009

PLAYING HOUSE: REVIEW and SPEEDY GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
PLAYING HOUSE

BY FREDRICA WAGMAN

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Playing House appeared in 1973, Publishers Weekly hailed it, "A probing descent into madness that will fascinate the same audience that appreciated I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." This nationally bestselling story of one woman’s struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers; it remains a literary work of enduring quality and value. In his foreword Philip Roth writes, "The traumatized child; the institutionalized wife; the haunting desire; the ghastly business of getting through the day -- what is striking about Wagman's treatment of these contemporary motifs is the voice of longing in which the heroine shamelessly confesses to the incestuous need that is at once her undoing and her only hope."


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Fredrica Wagman, but it wasn't always. I started out as Riki Barris, "Riki" being short for Rita Fredrica, born in 1940 in Philadelphia where I spent the first four years of my life in my grandparents home with my mother and father and my older brother. It was a great sprawling place where there were maids and my baby-nurse, big cars, a devoted chauffer by the name of I.J. Duckett, and the warmth of aunts and uncles and my grandparents all around us all the time whom I adored.

When I was four we moved into our own small house which was very hard on my mother who was used to all the space and all the help that everyone there could provide. My mother became quite depressed when we moved away from my grandparents and a hard time ensued after that for my brother and me. My father was a dentist, an oral surgeon who specialized in extracting teeth which was a kind of speciality in those days, although barbers were proported to have been doing it for years without all the training and all the honors my father collected at the University of Pennsylvania's dental school.

I attended schools first in the suburbs of Philadelphia and then in the city which was where we moved when I was eleven years old. I was married at a very early age, shamefully early, to Howard Wagman. Had five children, lost one, attended the University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College after the children were born, and was writing fiction and poetry for as long as I can remember.

Fredrica Wagman is the author of six novels — Playing House, His Secret Little Wife, Mrs. Hornstien, Peachy, and Magic Man, Magic Man —and The Lie, just released in April 2009.

MY REVIEW:

PLAYING HOUSE is a book that I started a few times before I could actually feel emotionally stable enough to read and handle. When I did, I found a story told from the main character's point of view, in which she becomes involved at a young age in an incestuous relationship with her brother. This "relationship" starts out being non-consensual but grows into something that is more than that as the main character longs for the closeness that she experiences with him and it goes on to take over her adult life as well.

As children, you wonder how they kept this secret from everyone, and even if the mother doesn't exactly know what is going on, why she didn't do something about her suspicions anyway? It may have to do with the fact that the son was the favorite in the family, being so spoiled that he could do nothing wrong in their eyes. Even though he is cruel and temperamental, he always gets his way which is evident if by nothing else than the unnatural relationship with the sister.

Oddly enough, however, is that the sister still loved him and even after he is gone and she is married, his influence and her feelings don't seem to change but instead seem to color her world later on as well. All this of course creates problems in her marriage to say the least. Her spiraling into an almost kind of madness is not hard to predict or believe.

This is a short book you can read in one sitting literally but one that you may not be able to because of the intense and disturbing subject matter. Many will find it so fascinating and well written that they zip through it but I was not one of them. I will say however that the author does write really well even though I found the subject matter just too dark for me. The emotions were honest and raw and I found they were hard for me to deal with but I forged ahead and finished the book.

While I realize that not all stories can be tied up in a bow with a happy ending, this one left me with but one positive (?) thought, and that was it would be a good choice for a brave book club as it lends itself to a lot of discussion. It was a novel I won't long forget as much as I would like to but it just was too disturbing for me. I guess I am a more simplistic reader and it isn't that I don't like a book that creates a buzz and need for discussion but this one was just too hard for me to like enough to want to talk about it. Just in my personal opinion, I love a story that makes you think and want to discuss it with others. However, this book was just not my cup of tea as I feel life is hard enough and to interject this kind of subject matter into my discussions with friends and colleagues did not appeal to me. I would prefer to discuss thought provoking stories that are just a little less intense at this point in my life. But in no way should that color your desire to read this book as that is merely my personal opinion. This book is highly acclaimed and recommended by many literary experts and reviewers so I guess you just have to read it to make up your mind as to what group you fall into.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO FSB ASSOCIATES,
I HAVE TWO COPIES OF THIS THOUGHT
PROVOKING BOOK TO GIVE AWAY
RULES:

--U. S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES, PLEASE
--INCLUDE EMAIL IN YOUR COMMENT
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE ENTRY

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT IF YOU ALREADY ARE A LOYAL FOLLOWER OF ANY KIND AND WHERE OR IF YOU BECOME ONE TODAY

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON MY REVIEW AS TO HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT BOOKS WITH UNCOMFORTABLE SUBJECT MATTER...PART OF YOUR LIFE, OR NOT, AND WHY



ALL ENTRIES ARE DUE BY
6 PM, EST, OCTOBER 11
---THAT'S TOMORROW AND WHY
IT IS A "SPEEDY GIVEAWAY"!!

34 comments:

thetruebookaddict said...

I am a loyal follower via Google Friend Connect.

miller4plusmore(at)bellsouth(dot)net

thetruebookaddict said...

Yours is not the first review I have read on this book. Having now read two reviews my interest is peaked! I'm not sure if it will be my cup of tea, but it does sound intriguing albeit of a disturbing subject matter.

Thanks for another great contest!

miller4plusmore(at)bellsouth(dot)net

Virginia C said...

Thanks for this giveaway. You are a thoughtful blogger!

I am a Google Friend Connect Follower.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Virginia C said...

Thank you for your excellent, painfully honest review.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Neas Nuttiness said...

You know that I'm a follower
Loyal, true and blue.
No matter how far or how fast you run...
I'll always follow you. LOL

Ok - so sleep deprivation sometimes makes me giddy!

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

traveler said...

Thanks for this great review. I am intrigued with this book. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Pam said...

I follow you through google friend connect/google reader

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

Difficult subject matter in books is part of my repertoire. I don't always enjoy them (how can you really enjoy it?) but I think they are important.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I would love to read this book! I am at chezraine@yahoo.com, and I am a Google Connect follower of your blog.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I have read other reviews of this book, and I agree that it sounds intensely disturbing...but after spending more than three decades as a social worker, I am pretty sure I can handle it!

It is a topic that I'm quite familiar with.

Sheila said...

I am a loyal follower.

ludeluh at yahoo dot com

Sheila said...

As to your review, I might end up feeling the same way as you, and maybe some would say I should not even be entering. But I don't like to hide from books, or avoid books I think I won't like. I read Lolita because it was so highly reviewed. Hated it! Would not recommend it to anyone. But I read it,and I'm glad I read it, so I know what it's about.

ludeluh at yahoo dot com

Neas Nuttiness said...

I like your reviews...you're honest, and you always try to have a positive outlook.

I do often start on books, that have (shall I say)uncomfortable subject matter...but I don't always finish them. I find that the F word is used more and more frequently, in literature today. I can handle one or two, but when it becomes a staple - I close the pages, and shelve the book. GD is another that I just cannot and will not fill my head with.

Graphic sexual content and extreme violence, is another iffy for me. There is a huge difference between a tender sensual love scene and a totally vile disgusting sex scene. Same goes for violence - some would find that an odd statement - but I'm sure that you know what I mean.

Of course the subject matter makes a difference too - such as writing on abusive situations, war, deviant behaviors etc. etc.
But honestly, my Bingo Beauty, some authors just use sex, profanity, and violence, like our lungs use air. That is when the book goes into the outbox!

But isn't it great, that we can all have different opinions!

Shirley said...

I'm already a follower on Blogger. Although the subject matter is disturbing, I have to applaud the author for her courage in telling her story.

rubynreba said...

I don't usually like to read books with uncomfortable subject matter. However, I would like to see what this book is all about because I have heard a lot about it.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I'm a follower.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Ann Diana Dinh, said...

I'm a follower!

behapppppppy(at)hotmail(dot)com

Janel said...

Of course, I am a devoted follower (Google)!

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

Janel said...

I find that I have to also take breaks when a book is about something that is disturbing. My mind has to digest subjects like that in small helpings.

jgbeads(at)gmail(dot)com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I am a loyal follower via Google Friend Connect and Google Reader.

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Can't believe Philip Roth wrote a forward for this. That in itself makes it interesting for me! But anyway, re books with uncomfortable subject matter: I don't like any sex or violence that is gratuitous. Occasionally there is a book that is entirely about sex or violence because it is not gratuitous but is part of the story itself. In that case, I deal with it, I guess (grimacing, however!).

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Renee said...

I'm a follower through Blogger Dashboard.

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Renee said...

I do read books with uncomfortable subject matters... it makes me appreciate my life so much more

reneesuz82(at)msn(d0t)com

Misty said...

+1 I am a follower (of course)
+1 I think you have to read books that make you uncomfortable, because they help you know yourself and make you better able to understand and express yourself, and they help you know other people and where they are coming from. These kinds of books have an impact. The Bluest Eye was one of the most emotionally hard books to read for me, and it is also one of my favorite books of all time.

~Misty
mbradenwf@gmail.com

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I am a loyal follower through Google Friends Connect and Google Reader.

fitz12383(at)hotmail(dot)com

sharon54220 said...

Of course I'm a follower. I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm know I follow through Google Reader, but I may even be on Google Friends Connect.

In regards to books with disturbing content. I do read them, it is interesting to see how people deal with different matters. It also shows how lucky I am.

Thanks for the chance Karen.

sharon54220@gmail.com

bekki1820cb said...

I am a loyal follower via gfc! bekki1820cb@gmail.com

bekki1820cb said...

I enjoy reading books with touchy material. It make me think about the views of the world as well as my own views. I usually learn something I did not know. I do not always have the same opinions as the author, nor should I. And I do not always agree...but that's okay. It makes me think and it also makes me reevaluate my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks for the chance! bekki1820cb@gmail.com

Alyce said...

I follow with google friend connect, and also subscribe via rss.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Alyce said...

I don't normally read a lot of books with uncomfortable subject matter because I do find it upsetting. I tend to be very picky in that way. This is one of those rare occasions when I'm interested in a book that I know will upset me, but the story sounds very intriguing at the same time.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Marian said...

Oh boy... brother-sister incest. I could take that in V. C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic, but that book is so gothic and, well, flowery that it didn't seem too connected to real life.

Your review, though, gives Playing House an entirely different feel. It sounds disturbing but plausible. I'm not sure I'd enjoy reading this book, but I'd like to give it a try.

Marian - mdperera at hotmail dot com

MJ said...

I'd love this.

Following on Google Reader..at least that's how I read it! LOL

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

Buukluvr81 said...

I am a follower through Google Friend Connect...


Mollydawn1981 AT aol DOT com

Buukluvr81 said...

I am interested in this book because I don't usually read books with disturbing subjects but your review was just to darn good to pass up this opportunity and see for my self just how disturbing this may or may not be to me!

Thanks for hosting!

Mollydawn1981 AT aol DOT com

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